German Reformation 1500-1555 Revision Notes

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German Reformation 1500-1555
The Power and Importance of the Catholic Church in the Early 16th
People believed in hell and believed that the church would guide
them to heaven
Heaven and hell were communicated through images in the church
so that the illiterate people could understand the message too
Life expectancy was much shorter meaning that they had less
time to work off their sins
Church taught you about the 7 sacraments that would allow you
to get to heaven
Church is one of the richest organisations of the time
The church was the local landowner, employer, tax collector etc.
There were road side altars as it was so important
Abuses of the Catholic Church
Bible was in Latin and few could understand it
There was inequality in the church
Priests were sinful
Threatened people with hell to get them to do as the church
wishes, e.g. donation
Pluralism (more than one church)
Absenteeism (absent from services)
Nepotism(passing on of position and power)
Simony (Selling of positions)
However, these abuses only weakened the church morally, it remained
incredibly strong and popular as people felt powerless as priests were
the only ones that could get them to heaven, and the idea of hell was
very realistic to people of the time.
General Factors Promoting the Criticism of the Catholic Church:
Anti-clericalism (against the power of the clergy)
Anti-Papalism (against the power of the Pope)
Printing press and woodcuts
The Renaissance period of change (everything else was changing,
so would religion)

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Growing sense of nationalism in Germany
More grievances were being aired
Humanists were providing new weapons for the old campaign of
anti papalism due to distrust
They bought new issues with the church to people's attention
raising awareness for them
Wanted the church to be reformed from the inside and often
denied any association with the division of Roman Catholicism and
Humanists spread their beliefs to the educated classes e.g.
universities making it much more significant.…read more

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Indulgences were criticised as that if the Pope had the power to
forgive people, why would he, a Christian, only forgive those who
could afford to pay.…read more

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April 1518-Triennal Convention of his order. He tried to justify his
actions. Luther was well supported much to the Pope's
October 1518-Met Cardinal Cajetan in Augsburg. Cajetan tried to
make Luther realise the errors of his ways, but he ended up
threatening Luther.
July 1519-Leipzig Debate (formal Disputation) of the accepted
academic type. Pope sent Doctor Johann Eck (A champion debater)
to have an open discussion. Pope hoped Luther would be proved
wrong, stopping his influence.…read more

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Babylon Captivity of the Church-
Accused church of holding laity in captivity by distorting the 7
sacraments preventing them from going to heaven
Catholic Church over exaggerated what people needed to do to
get into heaven
Priests and no better than anyone else
Says marriage isn't a sacraments as Jesus didn't marry and not is
penance as Christ dies for us
This challenged the teachings of the church
On the Liberty of the Christian-
Justification by faith alone.…read more

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The Pope's representatives wanted Luther to answer two
questions: did he write the pamphlets? And did he still stand by
his views?
Luther asked for time to consider his answers
The questions were designed to stop Luther making a long
justification. However, the time Luther had allowed him to make a
good argument.
Luther accepted that they were his.…read more

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Material gain-when a prince became Lutheran, he
would take over the church land and use them for his
own purposes (sometimes it was used for good
reasons, e.g. Philip of Hess used it to build a hospital
for the poor)
The princes sovereign powers would be expanded as he
no longer had to share his authority with the pope or
The extra power from the duty of supervising the
church.…read more

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Protestants had tried to persuade the Catholics that
Lutheranism wasn't so different from Catholicism and
it tried to agree with the Catholics. This angered
Luther as it was too agreeing with the Catholic
The Schmalkadic (Lutheran) League-This was founded by the
Protestants in preparation for war. It was intended to be
defensive however they were prepared to be offensive too. The
formation of this league shows just how determined and energetic
the Lutherans were.…read more

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North Italy. Turks take Rhodes and advance
on Balkans
Diet of Speyer and the Protestation
1529-Charles V was in a battle with French.
Turks besiege Vienne.
Protestants take Wurttemberg 1534-6-Charles
takes Tunis and Francis I invades North Italy.
1541-3-Charles V failed to take Algiers. French
attack in alliance with Turks.
Henry VII invades Germany and the revolts of the
German prince's 1551-3-Turkish backed pirates
take Tripoli.…read more

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This was because Protestants had had
time to become devoted Protestants.
He set himself unobtainable goals: it was too late by
1540s for Lutheranism to be destroyed as it had had
enough time to become established. Charles V
underestimated the strength of Protestantism.
The Pope withdrew his support as he felt that Charles
could have done more at the Diet of Worms and
Charles had kidnapped the previous Pope at the sack
of Rome.…read more



So helpful! Thank you :)

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